Food Notes for May 25, 2020

Filistix the First to Undergo “Permanent Pivot”

There have been many stories about how local restaurants have adapted to the COVID reality out of necessity, offering take-out and delivery, meal kits, and opening up their pantries. And though some food businesses have decided to re-open their dining rooms again, one local restaurant has decided their new model will be here to stay.

Filistix, who was due to celebrate the one year anniversary of their Downtown storefront on May 26, 2020, has chosen to permanently pivot away from full service dining. After two months of positive response to their in-house delivery service, and in light of their need to plan for the future of the restaurant, they will be focusing on delivery, take-out and fast casual dining.

Ariel del Rosario, co-owner of Filistix, wrote,

Are we set up for success? Are we going to come out of this unscathed? Only time will tell.  But I am confident that we are putting ourselves in a good position to weather the storm.  It was already an immensely tough challenge to break an unfamiliar, unpopular cuisine to the Edmonton masses.  We don’t serve pizza, or burgers, or sushi.  We serve Filipino food and the curve is steep to bring it to the level of acceptance as our Asian counterparts.  One thing we learned from our food cart days is that to survive, we had to adapt and evolve.  How we come out of this, we look at it as another chapter in our story, another adventure on our journey.

Find Filistix here.

In other COVID-19-related news:

Openings

  • A new food cart is now open in Edmonton, called Street Tacos.

Upcoming Events

Local News

Beyond Edmonton

  • A Kansas-based pizzeria owner gamed Door Dash and made $75 by ordering his own pizzas.
  • Is physical distancing enough to prevent another outbreak? The Atlantic tackles how COVID-proofing restaurants may look like.
  • From Restaurant Business: is the buffet dead?

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • Chilly weather last week had me craving bun bo Hue, so take-out from King Noodle House was in order!

King Noodle House

Our usual from King Noodle House

Food Notes for May 18, 2020

Hospitality Businesses Welcome Dine-In Customers

The Government of Alberta lifted restrictions for restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars on May 14, 2020 to resume dine-in services.

While capacity of these businesses was limited to 50% (among other guidelines), many restaurants in the Edmonton area chose to re-open their dining areas to patrons. Some, including Canadian Brewhouse, Joey’s, and Hudson’s, aren’t surprising, given the space they have in their establishments to spread out.

But many smaller, independent businesses have also resumed eat-in service, such as Pampa, Hart’s Table, Ramen Misoya, Kelly’s Pub, Rocky Mountain Ice House, The Underground, Hanjan, dessert bar Snowy Village, and neighbourhood gem Old Beverly Cafe.

However, other businesses have stated that they aren’t yet ready to open their dining rooms, and will continue offering take-out and delivery for the time being.

Prairie Dog Brewing, a Calgary-based brewpub, posted a thorough account detailing all of the considerations behind a decision to re-open – it is worth a read, and seems to articulates many of the factors stacked against small restaurants at this time.

In other COVID-19-related news:

Openings

  • The location of The Greenhouse based at Victoria Golf Course is now open. It comes from the folks behind Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers.
  • While the dining room at Boxer – Alberta Kitchen & Bar (the former Holy Roller space) is not open yet, they have been offering curbside take-out. Find them at 10315 83 Avenue.
  • The Colombian now has a coffee truck! Follow The Coffee Mule to find out where they’ll be next.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • In support of Canadian potato farmers, Sabor is offering 2 pieces of Piri-Piri chicken with fries and aioli for $14 on May 19, 2020. Pre-ordering is required.
  • The Chefs from Milk Crate and Why Not are going head-to-head in a Burger Battle for a second time on May 20, 2020. Diners try two take-out burgers and vote for their favourite. Pre-orders are due at 4pm on May 19; burgers are to be picked up at Milk Crate in the Epcor Tower.
  • The Common’s popular Hip Hop Brunch is going virtual on May 24, 2020. Those interested should pre-order; included along with the food are colouring sheets, crayons, and a link to the live brunch stream.

Local News

  • Chef Doreen Prei is the next Edmontonian to appear on Food Network Canada’s Firemasters program. Watch for her appearance on May 21, 2020.
  • Sharon wrote about some small food-based businesses that have started up during the pandemic, including Malay Bakery, Nai Nai Mie, and The French Creperie. QuaranTeas & Sweets is in the same vein, offerings sweets and drinks through delivery. It’ll be interesting to see if these businesses are able to sustain themselves when and if diners return to eating in restaurants again.
  • Sea Change Brewing followed through on their offer to deliver a pallet of beer using a forklift. After Highlands Liquor placed a large order, they made the 10km trip on a small, pink forklift, documented the journey, and have pledged a portion of the beer sales for Edmonton’s Food Bank.
  • Local startup Commerce Owl has submitted their recipe app for a Shopify competition in the hopes of snagging a prize.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • While farmers’ markets have been classified as “essential services” and have remained open during the pandemic, their transition to outdoor spaces has come with some restrictions.
  • Riverbend Gardens shared that for the first time since 2004, they will not be among the summer vendors at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market. They indicated that “the market made the decision that no vendors with products similar to permanent indoor vendors would be allowed in the outdoor portion of the market.” This is incredibly disappointing, short-sighted, and unfortunate given the market had the wonderful opportunity to fully showcase the possibilities of having both indoor and outdoor components this summer. I look forward to supporting Riverbend Gardens through their other market locations.
  • Alberta Open Farm Days has updated their list of farms who offer farmgate sales or delivery options.
  • The City of Edmonton is hoping to increase the number of community gardens by creating 350 gardening plots in 30 temporary garden sites. The deadline to submit applications is May 18, 2020.

What I Ate

  • We still haven’t exhausted our take-out options within walking distance of our home! Friday’s craving for Thai meant kicking off the weekend with food from Viphalay. The pad Thai and green curry are staples for us, but we tried the drunken noodles for the first time too – I was unprepared for how spicy they were!

Viphalay

Our spread from Viphalay

Food Notes for May 11, 2020

Some Restaurants Gearing Up to Reopen

The Government of Alberta’s relaunch strategy is set to shift to stage one on May 14, 2020, which will allow some businesses, including restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars, to resume dine-in services.

Guidance on risk mitigation was released today. The document details include: seating capacity must be limited to 50% (including outdoor patios); 2-meter distances must be maintained between tables; group sizes are capped at 6 patrons; and all dining must be table service only.

So far, only a few restaurants have publicly posted that they will be accommodating eat-in customers as of May 14, such as Pampa’s west end location, and Woodshed Burgers on 124 Street.

Others, like Blue Plate Diner and The Next Act/MEAT/Pip, have shared that they will remain open only for take-out and delivery for the time being, in order to maintain the safety of their staff and guests.

In other COVID-19-related news:

Openings

  • The Edmonton location of Peter’s Drive-In is now open at 5151 Calgary Trail, though for the time being, only for drive-thru services. Cars have been lining up and blocking traffic on Gateway Boulevard ever since.
  • Cup Bap on Rice Howard Way is now open at 101, 10115 100A Street, serving up Korean rice bowls and fried chicken.

Closures

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • The 124 Grand Market is set to debut this summer on May 14, 2020, with some precautions, including limiting the number of patrons at any time to 50, no dogs, and encouraging the wearing of masks.
  • The Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market is reopening their outdoor portion (adjacent to the building on 103 Avenue) on May 16, 2020.
  • The St. Albert Farmers’ Market will reopen on June 6, 2020 in a new location to allow for greater spacing between vendors. They will be located in the parking lot of Servus Credit Union Place at 400 Campbell Road.
  • Community gardens are set to re-open this year, with some requirements to facilitate social distancing and sanitation requirements.
  • Sturgeon County-based farm 2BK Vegetables will be offering online ordering and curb-side pick-up this summer.
  • Angela Santiago, CEO of Edmonton-based The Little Potato Company, shared how her company has stepped up to meet the demand for their product.

What I Ate

  • Before the pandemic, we made weekly trips to the Italian Centre as a part of our grocery run. Now, we’ve been using their delivery service (free for orders over $75) over the past month. It’s not only convenient, but amazingly efficient – both times, our orders were processed and delivered the next day. Their ordering system isn’t set up like the big grocers, but if you’re not that picky (or are a frequent shopper like us and know what you want), it’s a great way to shop local.

Italian Centre

Our recent Italian Centre grocery order (and Emily’s feet!)

  • Our Friday night take-out was courtesy of Rosewood Foods – an amazing chicken katsu sandwich with crispy potatoes, and maple cinnamon crullers. I can’t wait for their restaurant to fully open on Rice Howard Way – it’s a great little spot we can walk to! Currently, they’re open for pick-up orders from Wednesday to Saturday.

Rosewood Foods

Chicken katsu sandwich from Rosewood Foods

  • For Mother’s Day, we delivered an order of brisket and pulled pork from MEAT to my Mom (she’d been craving southern barbecue!). For ourselves, we ordered The Next Act’s take on donairs, made using the brisket from MEAT – they were delicious!

The Next Act

MEAT brisket donair from The Next Act

Food Notes for May 4, 2020

Food Establishments May Re-open Next Week

The Government of Alberta released its Relaunch Strategy last week, and indicated that some restrictions on cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars may be lifted as soon as May 14, 2020.

Dependent on the approval of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, stage one would allow food establishments to re-open for public seating at 50% capacity.

Patrick Saurette of The Marc responded to this possibility in an interview with City TV, and indicated that although it may be permitted, his restaurant may decide not to open because staff and diners may not feel safe.

In other COVID-19-related news:

Openings

  • Sister cafe to Sugarbowl Eleanor & Laurent is now open next door (10926 88 Avenue), and offers French pastry and fresh breads.
  • Century Hospitality has expanded their ghost kitchens to include concepts Nooch, offering protein bowls, and Chuck, offering burgers and milkshakes.
  • Brew and Bloom is a forthcoming cafe opening this summer. In the meantime, they are offering 25% off their food items for delivery.
  • A new food business called Malay Bakery is offering Malaysian curry puffs and rolled pandan for delivery.
  • Nico’s Cookie Co., run by a 10 year old boy, is also a relatively new business that offers porch pick-up in Parkland County.

Closures

Upcoming Events

  • The next #EatWithMeYEG takes place on May 6, 2020 and will feature The Local Good’s current #LocalGoodnessYEG project which highlights small businesses.
  • The Food Truck Drive Thru returns with its second edition and six trucks on May 9, 2020 in the parking lot of Southgate Centre.

Local News

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Northlands, through its Alberta Flavour initiative, is conducting a survey to determine how the current disruptions in the food system can be managed.
  • Liane wrote about a number of local community supported agriculture projects that have escalated in popularity in recent weeks, including Sparrow’s Nest, Prairie Gardens, and Riverbend Gardens.
  • Local farmers, including Rock Ridge Dairy and potato growers, are feeling the effects of the pandemic on their bottom line.
  • “Meat is the new toilet paper” – or so say some Alberta meat producers who have seen their demand increase as meat packing plants have been forced to close, impacting supplies at grocery stores.

What I Ate

  • We love having so many restaurants within a five minute walk of our place – many that we’re finally getting to for the first time! Friday night take-out was from Bao Bao – we especially enjoyed the traditional pan-fried bao (with pork bone soup inside) and the sweet and sour pork rib dry noodle. They also accept phone orders to bypass third-party apps for pick-up!

Bao Bao

Our order from Bao Bao

  • On Saturday, after meeting a friend’s baby for the first time (through a window!), we swung by Jack’s Burger Shack on the way home. It wasn’t planned, but we decided to eat our meal while it was still hot at a nearby park. The hangover burger really hit the spot, and Emily loved the fries!

Picnic with Jack’s Burger Shack

A quick picnic with Jack’s

Food Notes for April 27, 2020

Local Restaurants Continue to Innovate During Pandemic

It’s been six weeks since the current social restrictions were put into place, with no end in sight. Restaurants have been forced to get even more creative as the length of the pandemic grows, with no choice but to meet the need for diners to eat at home.

Several food businesses have started creating kits for people to build dishes at home – Nomiya is offering tonkotsu ramen kits, El Beso is selling margarita and taco kits, and Meuwly’s makes it easy to bake your own flatbread (with a side of dessert). New businesses have also sprung up to cater to this demand, including Nai Nai Mie’s Indonesian-style tossed noodles.

Others are combining food with (socially distant) events. Chefs from Milk Crate and Why Not are collaborating on a take-out burger battle on April 29, 2020, while Colleen’s Chocolates is leading a virtual chocolate tasting on May 1, 2020. Even food trucks are getting into the mix, with a food truck “drive through” being organized for May 2, 2020.

In other COVID-19 related-news:

Upcoming Events

Reviews

  • Linda and her husband Mike celebrated his birthday by eating pizzas for a week! She shared his five favourites, but his top pick was Stony Plain’s Atomic Pizza.
  • Sharon reviewed Korean-Chinese restaurant Rae Mi Hyang.

Local News

Beyond Edmonton

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • Friday night dinner was take-out from Dynasty Century Palace – they’re offering 30% off all pick-up orders. It was a great excuse to visit a #yegchinatown mainstay and get a walk in as well!

Dynasty Century Palace

Our order from Dynasty Century Palace

Food Notes for April 20, 2020

Restaurants Shift to Become Alternative Grocery Stores

To offer diners the convenience of take-out meals and groceries in a single pick-up or delivery, several restaurants have shifted to open up their pantries to customers.

Earls pivoted back in March, offering grocery packs and home essentials. Local Public Eatery has also opened up their shelves and liquor cabinets, calling it The Local Corner Store. OEB has done the same, offering breakfast essentials at their locations.

In other COVID-19-related news:

Openings

  • Wishbone is currently the home of Grey Mare, serving up Chef David Leeder’s burgers and sides.

Upcoming Events

  • The next #EatWithMeYEG focuses on the North Edge, and will take place April 22, 2020.
  • Canada’s Great Kitchen Party is going virtual on April 22 and 29, 2020. They encourage diners to purchase take-out on those days to support restaurants, then tune in to concerts to be livestreamed.

Reviews

  • Both Lydia and Sharon showed much love to Sepp’s Pizza.

Local News 

  • The Spring 2020 issue of Eat Local is out, and available to read online. It’s the first issue edited by Twyla Campbell. Among the pieces, they feature the family behind Nature’s Green Acres, and profile longstanding restaurant Bistro Praha.
  • Speaking of Twyla, she shared an experience tasting various cheeses from Lakeside Farmstead. Cheesemaker Ian Treuer (formerly of Winding Road) has been experimenting with the milk from Jeff and Coralee Nonay’s cows. The cheeses aren’t commercially available yet.
  • The Prairie Dinner Series, an annual fall event, released a mini documentary featuring participating chef Lindsay Porter.
  • Maps like this one try to help keep consumers up to date with waiting times at grocery stores and pharmacies.
  • If you need some inspiration to bake your own bread at home, consider listening to this podcast featuring home baker Emily Hoven.
  • Locally-based app ClickDishes, which allows diners to pre-order and pre-pay for food, has expanded to Japan.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

  • Good news has been in short supply, so it was great to hear that community gardens have been permitted to operate this summer.
  • The St. Albert Farmers’ Market is among the nominees in this year’s Alberta Business Awards of Distinction under the category of Community Attraction.

What I Ate

  • We’ve been doing our best to support small businesses in other ways – this week, we ordered from Good Goods Co., which offers an assortment of locally-made foods and beverages. Our box included bread and sourdough starter from Laneway Bakery, coffee beans from Alternate Route and Roasti Coffee, and oats from Strathcona Stoneground Organics.

Good Goods Co.

Our haul from Good Goods Co.

  • I’d been craving ramen for a while, so thought this weekend would be an opportune time to (finally!) try Dorinku Osaka. Everything was well packaged to keep the noodles springy, and our pick-up order was 10% off. The tonkotsu was tasty, and Mack enjoyed the shoyu. We’ll be ordering again!

Dorinku Osaka

Ramen and sides from Dorinku Osaka

Food Notes for April 13, 2020

Government of Alberta Allocates $5 Million to Food Supply Efforts

Recognizing the challenges an increasing number of Albertans have with meeting basic needs, on April 10, 2020 the Government of Alberta announced a provision of $5 million to “support Alberta food bank locations, charities, not-for-profits and civil society organizations with their food supply efforts.”

Many local organizations have also been doing their part to support Edmonton’s Food Bank. #YEGTechCares has pulled together 20 companies so far whose salaried staff have pledged the equivalent of one hour of their monthly salary to donate to the Food Bank over the next three months, and a group of Dynalife employees donated $10,000 from their April pay for the Food Bank.

In other COVID-19-related news:

  • Smokey Bear has created a take-out/delivery taqueria called Pedro’s. Their first menu featured a collaboration with Biera’s Christine Sanford.
  • I’m late to the party, but it’s great to see HanJan and Izakaya Tomo teaming up to offer “mix and match” items from both menus for pick-up and delivery orders.
  • In an effort to recreate some of the ambiance of dining out, some restaurants like Blue Plate Diner and Tzin have offered music alongside their take-out, in the form of streamed concert or a playlist.
  • It looks like OEB has gone the route of Earls in setting up a marketplace to those interested in picking up some essentials.

Upcoming Events

  • Get Cooking continues to deliver virtual cooking workshops, including several free classes this April, such as how to make Asian-inspired pork stock and Asian-braised pork.
  • Local author Jennifer Cockrall-King will be leading two upcoming workshops as a part of the Pandemic University School of Writing; 50% of the proceeds will go towards the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund. The first, on April 20, 2020, will cover food writing fundamentals, while Cookbook Confidential on May 11, 2020 is intended for aspiring cookbook writers.

Reviews

Local News

  • Congratulations to all of the breweries recognized in the 2020 Alberta Beer Awards, including Odd Company Brewing, who won gold in the category of New Brewery of the Year, and Campio Brewing Co. who won silver in the Brewery of the Year category. Jason Foster breaks down the trends based on the winners.
  • Many people seem to be clamoring for sourdough starter – through Good Goods Co., Laneway Bakery is selling some of their 13 year-old starter.

Beyond Edmonton

  • Top Chef Canada debuts its eighth season on April 13. While there are no Edmonton-based competitors, two chefs from Calgary made the cut.

Urban Agriculture and Farming

What I Ate

  • My Chicago-based sister Felicia sent us an Amore Pasta care package last week, featuring fresh pasta, sauces, and bread (the cream sauce was perfectly indulgent, especially when doctored up with some pesto). The whole box has been enough for several meals!

Amore Pasta

Amore Pasta care package

  • We finally gave into the hype and tried Sepp’s Pizza, offering New York-style pies. I appreciated that the crust was thin but sturdy, and the pepperoni is something special. Emily gave it two thumbs up!

Sepp’s

Pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Sepp’s

Food Notes for April 6, 2020

Local Restaurants Launch “Save Hospitality” Campaign

On the heels of the national Save Hospitality campaign launched back in March, local entrepreneurs Katy Ingraham (of Cartago) and Kris Harvey (of Chvrch of John) have spearheaded Save Edmonton Hospitality, under the banner of the Edmonton Independent Hospitality Community.

There is no question that the hospitality industry has taken a massive hit; a recently released Restaurants Canada report states that 95,000 food service jobs were lost in Alberta. Signatories so far represent nearly 60 businesses in the Edmonton area, and their asks include suspension of payments, rent, and one-time cash payments to provide financial stability.

A few of the same signatories also supported the Restaurant Realities campaign launched by Restaurants Canada in February 2019, which called for, among other things, a rollback of benefits to workers, and a reduction of the minimum wage for youth workers.

In other COVID-19-related news:

  • While many restaurants that remain open have pivoted to serve comfort food, others have chosen to continue offering refined dishes. These include The Marc, Nineteen XIX, Sabor, Sofra, Tzin, all offering curb-side pick-up.
  • On that note, those restaurants, in addition to many others, have chosen to refrain from listing with third-party delivery apps like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats. Chef Paul Shufelt of Workshop Eatery and Woodshed Burgers took to social media last week to provide information about the significant cost for restaurants to use the apps.
  • Lists continue to circulate to provide diners with accessible information about local restaurants to support, including one featuring establishments in and around Chinatown, another focused on Latino restaurants, a list put together by The Tomato, and a list compiled by Avenue of brewers and distilleries that deliver.
  • Unfortunately, Woodwork and Bar Clementine had to cease selling their cocktails via pick-up and delivery. They’re hoping AGLC may reconsider. Perhaps to get around their requirements, DOSC has opted to sell cocktail kits instead for people to create drinks at home.
  • Many local restaurants are selling #HereForGood t-shirts that will help them during these hard times, including the High Level Diner and Northern Chicken.
  • Steve and Dan’s, a familiar BC fruit vendor at many local markets, has launched a grocery delivery service available in the Edmonton area. In addition to offering their own products, they will also deliver items from Lacombe Fresh Vegetables and Effing Seafoods, among others.
    • Shojo Izakaya is the latest to offer a 25% discount to Alberta Health Services workers, while Tiffin’s southside locations are offering free food to long-haul truck drivers until April 15.
    • Many more companies have pivoted to provide seniors and immunocompromised individuals with free grocery delivery services during the pandemic, including Men with Kilts and the Wolfe Automotive Group.

    Openings

    • High Dough, Detroit-style pizza from the kitchen of Three Boars, is now available through pick-up.
    • Next week, Chef Daniel Costa will be offering “classic New Jersey/Italian cuisine” through his new initiative Zios on Uber Eats.

    Upcoming Events

    • Events have started to come back online, so to speak – #EatWithMeYEG is a virtual lunch club that has hosted three online gatherings so far to connect people and support local businesses at the same time. They have focused on Chinatown, Old Strathcona, and Downtown in previous events, while their upcoming event on April 8, 2020 will highlight many different communities.
    • Green Drinks will be hosting their Food and Climate Change panel online on April 8, 2020. The event is free.
    • Campio will be hosting their beer club virtually on April 9, 2020, leading a tasting of 5 different Alberta beers.

    Reviews

    • Graham Hicks caused a firestorm online last week with his negative review of Saigon Cuisine, with some feeling that the current struggle of the hospitality industry wasn’t appreciated. The review was subsequently taken down that same day.
    • Avenue paid a visit to Dorinku Osaka, pre-pandemic, of course. Though the in-person experience is indefinitely suspended, Dorinku, along with DOSC, Japonais, and Seoul Fried Chicken will be offering curated combinations that can be pre-ordered from all of the restaurants. The menus will be launching on April 9 for delivery starting April 12.

    Local News

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • We’ve been avoiding third-party apps in favour of dealing directly with restaurants, recognizing that as a result, more of the profit goes towards these small business owners to help them during these tough times. It might be a little less seamless for the diner, but I think the outcome and food choices make it worthwhile! One example is our take-out dinner from King Noodle House, one of my favourites in the city for pho. They’re now offering take-out from Wednesday to Sunday. We had to bring out or mixing bowls to accommodate all of the broth for the bun bo Hue we ordered, and Emily devoured the spring rolls!

    King Noodle House

    Our King Noodle House order

    • We also ordered from Rosewood Foods over the weekend. I loved their use of spices in their chicken shawarma bowl (it was also big enough for a full lunch portion the next day), and their biscuits are the stuff dreams are made of. Emily couldn’t get enough!

    Rosewood Foods

    Biscuits from Rosewood Foods with rhubarb jam and honey butter

    Food Notes for March 30, 2020

    Food Businesses Continue to Pivot During Pandemic

    Food and hospitality establishments have continued to pivot their service models out of necessity. It is an unbelievably stressful and challenging time, and yet, many businesses have made the shift to adapt to changing regulations and preferences (all dine-in services were restricted as of March 27, 2020).

    Last week, many restaurants had already implemented a change towards offering heat-and-serve meals. This trend has continued with additional businesses, including caterers like A Capella, and restaurants such as Amore Pasta, Shojo Izakaya, and Why Not. Other food businesses have worked towards undertaking delivery services to help manage social distancing mandates, including bakeries like Duchess and cafes like The Colombian. Even bars have been getting into the spirit – sister restaurants Woodwork and Bar Clementine have retooled their food and cocktail menu for pick-up and delivery.

    There seems to be a thirst for lists as many consumers look for ways to support independent businesses: Things That Are Open offers a business directory, while Shop YEG tracks places that offer online sales and delivery, and Councillor Aaron Paquette posted a list of producers offering home delivery. And don’t forget about Vinson Luong’s spreadsheet that has since doubled to over 400 listed food and drink-related businesses listing take-out and delivery options. For fun, also consider Alberta Food Tours’ bingo card in support of local shops.

    Recognizing that many people are cooking more in their homes during this period, Get Cooking will be leading virtual classes, beginning this week with a free Knife Skills class on March 31. Cindy Lazarenko has offered her cooking expertise for free to those looking for help cooking from one’s pantry or freezer. Lastly, Chef Steven Brochu (formerly of Chartier, currently of Milk Crate), has introduced “cyber cooking at home” – the chance to cook virtually alongside the chef on a video call, using groceries delivered to your home.

    Even in these trying times, so many local businesses have been continued to give back to the community. Just a few more examples from the past week: Oodle Noodle donated 500 meals to clients of The Mustard Seed; Tiffin provided gift certificates to hospital workers; Remedy is offering free drinks to first responders and hospital staff; Analog Brewing is hosting a “nurse a pint” program that allows people to buy a beer for Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff; and Sunterra Market is offering a 25% discount to AHS staff on ready-made products.

    Openings

    • It’s only a temporary shift, Workshop Eatery announced that they have converted into a second location of Woodshed Burgers to handle food delivery requests south of the river.
    • The kitchen of Three Boars will soon be offering Detroit Deep Dish through a venture called High Dough.
    • Some will be ecstatic to hear that Jollibee’s drive-thru is now open.

    Closures

    Reviews

    • Graham tried Skip the Dishes for the first time, and ordered Nara Chicken for delivery.

    Local News

    Beyond Edmonton

    • Some local companies, including A Capella and Blue Plate Diner, have signed onto a national campaign called Save Hospitality, which requests that the government implement some measures to help restaurants in this difficult period.

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    What I Ate

    • While on a walk over the weekend, Mack and I pre-ordered chai from Remedy for pick-up. They’d already been using pre-order and pay app Click Dishes for some time; in many ways, businesses who had been on systems like Click Dishes or Ritual pre-pandemic have been able to adapt quicker to the changes.

    Remedy

    Chai from Remedy

    • One of the magical things about the world today is that your Toronto-based sister can surprise you with the delivery of a box from Bloom Cookie Co. to get you through this pandemic. Bloom currently offers delivery of their treats twice a week.

    Bloom Cookie

    Box of Bloom Cookies

    Food Notes for March 23, 2020

    Pandemic Spurs Innovation from Local Food and Restaurant Businesses

    It’s only been one week since the restaurant and hospitality scene really started to change after social distancing measures were put into effect, but the speed at which some businesses have adapted to embrace this new reality is astonishing.

    Last week, many restaurants shuttered their dining rooms to focus only on take-out and delivery. This number has continued to grow (this handy spreadsheet by Vinson Luong is being updated with over 200 local food and drink-related businesses offering pick-up or delivery). It is worth remembering that while many local restaurants are available through apps like Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats, their cut involves a significant portion of the total. When possible, consider ordering and picking up directly from the restaurant, or, choose a restaurant that is offering in-house delivery (we ordered from Filistix on Friday and co-owner Ariel paid us a visit himself!).

    This week, many restaurants have adjusted their menus to accommodate the demand from diners for more heat and serve-style dishes, which may work better for those looking to stock up their fridges and freezers. Some examples include Northern Chicken and Love Pizza’s take and bake pizzas, take and bake goods from Sugared and Spiced, Highlands Golf Course and Green Onion Cake Man’s frozen meals, RGE RD, Workshop Eatery, Drift Food Truck, and Get Cooking’s comfort food, and Corso 32’s heat and assemble Italian meals.

    People are also seeking out grocery delivery services in light of minimizing contact with others, and several local options are now available. Bountiful Farmers’ Market is now offering delivery, as is the Italian Centre (neither have a comprehensive catalogue to order from, however, so it’d be difficult for non-regular shoppers to navigate). In addition, Meuwly’s has put together grocery boxes featuring their charcuterie, meats, and preserves, Uproot Food Collective offers collections of various local products, including Honest Dumplings, South Island Meat Co., and Boocha, and Good Goods Co. focuses on “hyper local sustainable small businesses” such as Herbologie, Roasti Coffee, Gruger Farms, and Laneway Bakery.

    In this stressful and uncertain time, it’s also great to see some good news stories being shared. Many local restaurants and hotels donated excess food to the Edmonton Food Bank, and distillers like Strathcona Spirits and Black Diamond Distillery are making hand sanitizer and distributing them for free to those in need. Love Pizza also started selling $5 support pizzas, which goes towards the cost of making and delivering pizzas for those on the front lines of the pandemic. After just two days, over 1,000 pizzas were purchased, and deliveries have since been made to hospitals, a fire/ambulance station, and the Youth Empowerment and Support Services. Keep it up, Edmonton!

    Openings

    • The Almanac hopes to upgrade to a bigger location by April in the former Holy Roller space. The renamed restaurant will be called Boxer – Alberta Kitchen and Bar.
    • It sounds like a “European cafe and wine bar” is in the works for the vacated Starbucks space at 10504 99 Avenue.

    Reviews

    Local News

    Beyond Edmonton

    Urban Agriculture and Farming

    • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salisbury Farmers’ Market in Sherwood Park has closed until further notice.
    • The Journal featured a story on Greens Eggs and Ham farm, and their desire to gain ground and build on their operations again.

    What I Ate

    • As mentioned above, we ordered in from Filistix (they’re offering free deliveries for orders over $50). We especially enjoyed the shrimp fried rice with bagoong and the mee goreng – we even had enough leftovers for lunch the next day!

    Filistix

    Our order from Filistix